Heroic Gillian Donald fondly remembered

THE legacy of Gillian Donald’s fearless act of bravery which led him to sacrifice his own life to save members of a family from a horrific house fire continues to resonate deeply within the Labuan community.

In a poignant show of solidarity, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Kong along with several Labuan DAP members extended their support to Gillian’s bereaved family at their home in Merinding Garden.

Gillian’s selfless act on Jan 24, at the age of 41, where he succumbed to smoke inhalation after ensuring the safety of his neighbours from the ferocious blaze will forever be etched in the memory of those he saved.

Sim, through his special officer Jeremy Wong, presented a contribution to Gillian’s widow, 39-year-old Sit Juana Maarop, and their three children, aged 15, 13, and four, to alleviate their financial burden.

“Steven Sim, deeply moved by the family’s situation, coordinated with the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) to extend possible assistance,” Wong told Bernama during the ceremony, highlighting the readiness to provide further support if necessary.

“Gillian’s courage and quick-thinking not only saved lives but also exemplified the essence of a true hero.”

The tragedy leaves behind a heartbroken family, with two children aged 15 and 13 still attending school at SMK Pantai and SMK Rancha-Rancha.

Gillian’s heroism was not just in the act of saving lives from the destructive flames but in his fearless determination to ensure the safety of every individual, from the youngest at four to the eldest at 67, against all odds.

Moreover, his audacity to re-enter the inferno using a neighbour’s ladder to reach those trapped upstairs, speaks volumes of his character.

Sit Juana’s emotional account during the gathering vividly brought to life Gillian’s selflessness and bravery.

“The moment the garage exploded and flames engulfed our neighbour’s house, Gillian did not hesitate to rush to their aid, she shared through tears.

Gillian’s resolve never wavered as he braved the intense heat and smoke, rescuing each person with tireless determination. His courage was boundless, venturing into the flames with a single-minded focus to save lives,” Siti Juana added, her voice heavy with sorrow.

Sadly, Gillian’s extraordinary efforts came at the greatest cost as he collapsed, likely overwhelmed by smoke inhalation.

“In his final moments, despite the efforts to save him, we find solace believing that his time came as called by Allah, and he was taken because he was loved more,” Sit Juana expressed, encapsulating the profound loss and enduring pride for her husband’s ultimate sacrifice. – Feb 2, 2023

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